Principal’s Pen: A model for thanksgiving

He is mentioned in only one chapter of the Bible. Even then, he is overshadowed by the Christchild.

Luke reports, “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah” [Luke 2:25-26].

Simeon is described as “righteous and devout.” As such, he knew Scripture. He knew God’s anointed would be David’s descendent [2 Samuel 7], yet even greater than David [Psalm 110]. He knew the Chosen One would born of a virgin [Isaiah 7:14] in Bethlehem [Micah 5:2]. He knew a forerunner would precede God’s Promised One [Isaiah 40] and that the Savior himself would be a prophet like Moses [Deuteronomy 18]. He knew the Messiah would be forsaken and pierced [Psalm 22] and then rise from death [Psalm 16].

Simeon knew all this about his Savior.

nunc-dimittusImagine Simeon’s joy as he held Jesus and exclaimed, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation” [Luke 2:29-30]. His joy was complete. He offered thanks to God that the
age-old promise of a Savior was fulfilled.

Simeon’s thanksgiving to God can also be our model for thanksgiving. He waited his entire life for the fulfillment of the promise of a Savior from sin. We share that same faith—only we don’t wait and wonder when it will happen. It has! God sent his Son to be our Savior so that all believers may have joy and thanksgiving.

At Thanksgiving, we tend to focus on God’s physical blessings. That’s good because God richly blesses us. Yet, we should also include his spiritual blessings in our Thanksgiving because they will last forever.

Like Simeon, may God “dismiss [us] in peace” knowing that his greatest blessing—a Savior—is ours every day by faith.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

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What causes suffering?

Some carry heavy burdens in life. Illness, death, and family situations are among the problems that they face daily.

Why do some carry such heavy loads, yet others go through life seemingly carefree? Even the people of Jesus’ day wondered this.

As [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:1-3). Jesus’ disciples incorrectly assumed that one’s problems result from a singular sin.

Jn9

However, “no one knows the thoughts of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). While we cannot definitively say that one’s burdens are due to a single sin, we know that these troubles are the effects of sin. Because all are sinners, all will face life’s problems until they die.

Knowing that we, too, face life’s burdens at times, how do we approach them? Our Savior comforts us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus encourages us to turn to him through the Means of Grace and prayer, trusting that he strengthens us to endure everything we face.

At times, God may even permit problems to enter our lives for a singular reason: to strengthen our faith. “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” When life’s burdens become heavy, we learn to lean on God for strength. He alone has the power to guide us through our troubles, and he even strengthens us through these burdens.

In this way, “the works of God [are] displayed” and he is glorified!

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Attitude Adjustment

“He really has an attitude!”

Attitude is often descriptive of negative or disagreeable people. “Attitude” exists for different reasons. It may be teenage rebellion. It might be passive-aggressive behavior in the workplace. It could even be someone’s despondency in life.

Regardless of cause, this type of attitude counters that of our Savior’s. Paul wrote, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” [Philippians 2:5]. (Some Bible translations use attitude for mindset.)

Christ’s attitude is perfect. He thought it nothing to be “in very nature God.” [2:6]  Yet, he set aside his godliness to be “made in human likeness” [2:7]. Then, he “humbled himself…to death…on a cross” [2:8]. Christ’s attitude is more than a goal for Christians. It should be our lifestyle! When we emulate Christ’s attitude in word, thought, and action, we do so joyfully thanking the One who gave himself as “the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and…also for the sins of the whole world” [1 John 2:2].

servant-attitudeChristians should have an attitude. First, it should be a confident attitude believing that our Savior won full and free forgiveness for us sinners. Secondly, it should be a trusting attitude knowing of Jesus’ personal love for us. Finally, it should be a responding attitude seeking ways to serve God and others in Christlike humility.

When seen this way, it’s not wrong for Christians to have an “attitude.”

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 x2204 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Identity theft-proof

Identity theft is the world’s fastest growing crime. Government websites, online financial records, and other secure databases are vulnerable. In the hands of identity thieves, stolen personal information can be used to apply for loans, credit cards, and government benefits. Identity theft is serious. Last year, it cost Americans $16 billion!

Before the world experienced this type of identity theft, a different kind occurred. More destructive and far-reaching than cyber theft, this identity theft affects every human. Tragically, its effects are eternal.

snake_15215cThis identity theft first occurred in the Garden of Eden when Satan stole God’s holy image from humans. Satan convinced the first man and woman that God was holding back from them. His line, “Did God really say,” (Genesis 3:1) drove a sinful wedge between God and humankind. The once perfect knowledge of God and his holy will was eternally gone—stolen by Satan. With this loss, the joy of serving God was gone. Life would now be a daily scenario of sinful, self-survival with no hope of self-rescue or self-renewal.

God, however, would not allow it to end this way. He intervened and promised restoration through his Son’s perfect life, innocent suffering, and death. Through faith in Christ, all believers would enjoy holiness and righteousness. God the Father even declared his approval for his Son’s perfect atonement by raising him from the dead.

Christ’s resurrection at Easter foreshadows our resurrection. His resurrection is God’s sure sign to all believers that our identity as God’s children is fully restored. Jesus paid this cost to reestablish us as “fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household” (Ephesians 2:19). This is Easter’s promise.

No one can steal it from us—ever!

Mr. Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 x2204 or jgrasby@llhs.org

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Although this adage was used for years, it was popularized in the 1970s. In context, the speaker referred to government trying to fix things that were not broken, while ignoring things that needed fixing.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

As Christians, we may wonder at this time of year,
“If Christmas ain’t broke, then why does the world keep trying to fix it?”

The answer is that the world views Christmas very differently.

It sees Christmas as an occasion for lavish gift giving, disregarding God’s greatest gift— his Son, the world’s Savior. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

The world sees Christmas as family time, losing sight of God’s promise, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith” (Galatians 3:26).

The world sees Christmas as a party time, ignoring the true reason for celebration, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you” (Zechariah 9:9).
baby_14775cIn short, the world has lost Christmas’ true meaning: the celebration of God becoming man to perfectly fulfill the law and pay for mankind’s sins.

From the Christian perspective, Christmas works just fine!

God bless your Christmas celebration. May he also give you a joyous New Year.

Mr. Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran. Reach him at 920.648.2321 x2204 or jgrasby@llhs.org This post is the meditation from the December 2016 edition of the LLHS Federation Connection. Read the rest of the newsletter here.